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One of the Guardian Unlimited Books' top 10 literary blogs: "A home-grown treasure ... smart, serious analysis"

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Blog entries on '16 January 2006'

Monday 16 January 2006

That Whale is back

I know I've said this, but I don't care: MobyLives Radio returned on Saturday "with an all new show, including reports from our UK [me!] and Canada correspondents, new episodes of Far Flung Readers and Men, Men, Men, an interview with writer and Paris Review editor Philip Gourevitch, and more."

Posted by Mark Thwaite

Monday 16 January 2006

TS Eliot prize

The TS Eliot Prize for poetry, now in its 13th year, will be announced tonight. Yesterday, in the Observer (thanks to Steve to bringing this piece to my attention), Robert Potts, in an excellent article, bemoaned, "[t]he problem with the Eliot Prize is ... that the results can be so bland. A number of books on this year's shortlist, despite blurbs suggesting their rare qualities, are barely distinguishable examples of orthodoxy." He does note (and I agree with him here too) that:

Two exceptions are Sinead Morrissey's The State of the Prisons, a book that does admit history and politics, and that is skilfully written; and David Harsent's Legion, a harrowing and highly intelligent book concerned with war and violence.

Hopefully, we'll be interviewing both Sinead Morrissey and David Harsent here on RSB within the next couple of weeks. Good luck to them both this evening.

Posted by Mark Thwaite

Monday 16 January 2006


On Radio 4, this Friday, the 20th January (at 14:15-15:00) John Banville's play Todtnauberg:

A fictional drama inspired by the meeting between the poet and holocaust survivor, Paul Celan, with the Nazi philosopher Martin Heidegger, at Heidegger's mountain retreat in 1967. No record was kept of this momentous meeting in the mountains, and the only mention is an obscure poem by Celan, Todtnauberg, which is the name of Heidegger's place.

It troubled Celan that the man he saw as one of the greatest of modern thinkers, so close to his own work, was a Nazi. One cannot even say 'had been a Nazi' because he never said anything that amounted to a renunciation. Late in life, Heidegger became interested in Celan's work. He attended public readings given by the poet, and in 1967 invited him to his famous Black Forest retreat at Todtnauberg.

Hardly an "obscure poem by Celan", Todtnauberg is a key poem in the Celan canon, but I'm intrigued as to what Banville will make of this.

Posted by Mark Thwaite

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As you sow, so shall you reap. The bags packed,
Umbers and gold swollen between the purse-strings,
Getaway cars nose on a hot scent.
Under striped canvas the patrons gather,
Staring at blue, incorrigible seas.
The stubble burns a hole in summer's pocket;
Upon the baked crust of their world, the mice
Scatter their ashes to the harvest moon.

-- Peter Scupham
(Carcanet Press)

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Word of the Day

The Dord, the Diglot, and an Avocado or two

Pre-order Anu Garg's new book: The Dord, the Diglot, and an Avocado or Two: The Hidden Lives and Strange Origins of Common and Not-So-Common Words (ISBN 9780452288614), published by Penguin more …

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October's Books of the Month

The New Spirit of Capitalism The New Spirit of Capitalism
Luc Boltanski; Eve Chiapello
Horizons Touched: The Music of ECM Horizons Touched: The Music of ECM
Steve Lake, Paul Griffiths

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